Making the Case for Anonymity in E-Participation - An Evaluation of Real Name Policy in Gütersloh’s Second Participatory Budget
Keywords:E-participation, participatory budgeting, real name policy, anonymity, pseudonymity, transparency, open participation
AbstractThe paper relates the debate about real name policy on social networking platforms and online forums to online moderated consultation processes in the area of e-participation. It analyses the case of the second participatory budget of the German city of Gütersloh. Three major rationales for real name policy in e-participatory projects are identified: the possibility to restrict access, prevention of offensive communication, and the strengthening of a transparent democracy. The five major objections identified are: distraction from issue-related dialogue, violation of privacy rights, administrative problems causing high expenditure of time and costs, negative media and public attention, and usability problems that may result in a low rate of participation. The evidence found indicates that the negative consequences of real name policy outweigh the positive ones. Important directions of further research are pointed out. The paper is an extended version of a paper presented at the Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government in 2012.
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JeDEM is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal (ISSN: 2075-9517). All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Austria (CC BY 3.0) License.